New opera chief delivers kick up the Graz

Austria’s second largest town is a cultural slumberland, with only an annual festival by homegrown Nikolaus Harnoncourt to save it from oblivion.

But a new regime at Graz Opera looks promising.

Intendant Nora Schmid and chief conductor Dirk Kaftan have unveiled their first season.

They will open with Franz Schreker’s Der Ferne Klang and follow up with Bohuslav Martinu’s Greek Passion. That should shake out a few cobwebs.

nora schmid

l-r: Bernhard Rinner, Nora Schmid, Dirk Kaftan

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  • No cobwebs in Graz. I have seen a number of productions there over the last 10 years. I loved their Meistersinger, and suffered their Rusalka, which was stunningly sung, but a bit too Amerstdam red-light for my tastes. Their Butterfly was inspiring! Too many others to mention. The audiences have always made me smile, very Austrian 1920-30s opulence. But gripped by the action, and charming to chat to in the intervals. I’ll watch with baited breath to see the changes!

  • Also the Slug!!! A thrilling art complex, not to mention the mussel! Also a vibrant university town,music department in excellent. Some good composers trying out new and fun things! Sx

  • DER Ferne Klang.

    Kaftan is pretty good, apparently. Once Erster Kapellmeister to Peter Kuhn in Bielefeld he’s gone on to make his mark. Graz is good as a springboard to the big time.

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